TICKETS are selling fast for this weekend’s appearance of Three Wise Men on Bute – bringing not gold, frankincense or myrrh (or a Nintendo DSi, for those who saw Top Gear’s Middle East special at Christmas), but the equally potent combination of great music and top quality comedy.
The three wise men in question, Bruce Morton, Roberto Cassani and Martin Stephenson, all appear at Craigmore Bowling Club this Saturday, February 19. Some of those names may ring a bell, but for those who don’t recognise them, and have yet to decide whether to go along, what should you expect from the experience?
Well, let’s start with Martin Stephenson, not least because his last performance on Bute was only a couple of months ago, at the Original Sunday Session’s Christmas party, when the Washington-born singer-songwriter (that’s the Washington in Tyne and Wear by the way, not DC) offered ample evidence of just how much a natural rapport between performer and audience can add to a show.
His extensive musical travels have featured tours with the likes of The Bluebells, Prefab Sprout, Aztec Camera and Janis Ian, to name but a few; these days, from his new adopted home in Ross-shire, he splits his time between solo writing and performing and appearances with The Daintees, the band he formed with a group of like-minded souls in the early 1980s.
Roberto Cassani, meanwhile, sings funny stories in a Scottish-Italian accent. And if you think that sounds like little more than a cheap party trick, think again, because the Lombardy-born singer-songwriter is attracting rave reviews from many of the most respected names on the Scottish music scene.
Ronnie Gurr, for example, whose 30-plus years in music includes spells as a journalist with the NME, as the brains behind the launch of Boy George’s Culture Club, and creative director of Richard Branson’s V2 label, says of Cassani: “I’ve seen the future of rock ‘n’ roll - well actually, beautifully judged Italian-Scots songs that bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye, and his name is Roberto Cassani.”
Not strictly a comedian, and yet never serious, he is establishing a firm reputation as a superb songwriter and a master entertainer, getting more and more radio play and featuring in some of the most prestigious music festivals around.
Last but not least, Glaswegian Bruce Morton burst on to the comedy scene in 1988, when he won the first So You Think You’re Funny? competition for new acts at the Edinburgh Fringe.
The following year he was one of the founders of the Funny Farm Comedy Collective, which was largely responsible for establishing the stand-up comedy scene in Scotland.
The 1990s featured TV appearances on Channel 4, and more recently he has turned his hand to play-writing and presenting, on stage and radio, as well as continuing to perform extensively on the stand-up circuit.
The 3 Wise Men are at Craigmore Bowling Club from 8pm this Saturday, February 18 – tickets, priced £10, are still available from Isle of Bute Jewellery, Rothesay Music or subject to availability on the door.